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Domain Names
Published on 12-Aug-12 12:45
By Gavin Tosh

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Collaborative Tendering: the Unsolicited Proposal
Published on 30-Jul-12 12:25
By Gavin Tosh

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'Clairvoyant Correspondence'
Published on 27-Aug-12 13:25
By Gavin Tosh

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Why have a Shareholder Agreement? Part 5
Published on 11-Jun-12 13:15
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Home » Awareness » Getting Business » Collaborative Tendering: the Unsolicited Proposal

Collaborative Tendering: the Unsolicited Proposal

The Unsolicited Proposal 

Sounds like what you might hear at the end of the office Christmas party night…. 

If ever you have set out a proposal in response to a customer’s requirements as set out in an ITT, it will be possible to appreciate how that written presentational format would be useful to a customer in assessing what you could do for them. So the question it may be appropriate to ask “why wait for an ITT?” 

Thus the idea of the unsolicited proposal (or tender). When will it be appropriate? In a variety  of situations but there are two main ones. Firstly, when there have been some discussions with a prospective customer but no decision has been made. There is a risk that however well the discussions went, some other pressing priority will cause the customer to forget aspects, or it will just recede in priority. A proposal document delivered as a follow up ensures there is a tangible representation of your offering which will provide a reminder. 

Secondly, as a door-opener. In many situations it beats a cold call as a way of introducing your company to a prospective customer who you may have never met. It may result in an invitation to come and talk. If so it provides an excellent basis for discussions or for a presentation. At worst it will be ignored. 

A written proposal is an opportunity to sell your company, to highlight all your strengths and  provide tangible evidence to the customer of why you, and not somebody else they may have had discussions, with should get to the next stage. It is a measure of your professionalism and respect and that you value that customer’s business, that you’ve taken the time out to prepare this for them. With larger customers in particular, assessment and decision making can involve several different people, some of whom you may not even have known existed, never mind met. A proposal allows information to be passed round to all interested parties.

 So what’s the legal angle on this? If it is straightforward deal that is being offered to the customer, if all the terms are clear enough and it is expressed as an offer – then it may be capable of simple acceptance and a contract could then be deemed to be in place. More likely the proposal document will contain language which makes it clear that a further stage in the process is required before any contract can be formed. It will then be likely to constitute an ‘invitation to treat’. Remember in any event however, that just like solicited proposal in response to an ITT, what goes into an unsolicited proposal of this nature will, if you are successful, evolve into a contract – so great care is needed not to get carried away with the ‘selling’ mission of the document! It is not just the T’s & C’s which will be legally binding.

Nothing in this awareness article is intended as legal advice. If you have a specific legal requirement or query you should consult a solicitor directly.